Friday, December 30, 2011

The Vote is in....

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know that my husband has been in review for parole for a few weeks now. His file went before the parole board on December 21 and I have been on pins and needles ever since.

I've been trying to stay busy and I've been praying an awful lot and hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. The question I have always had is how do you prepare for the possibility that you might be without your husband for another year? How do you get into the right frame of mind to deal with that potential outcome? I refused to believe that I would be without him for another year. I just couldn't picture it and quite frankly, I didn't want to so when I found out that his case was finally going to a vote, I wouldn't let myself think that the worst was going to happen.

My husband was less than hopeful about being granted parole after only serving 17 months on a 12-year sentence. I had always told him that I had hope enough for both of us and on more than one occassion he had said that hope is a sucker's bet. I know as sure as I am sitting here, that he was trying to prepare himself for the possibility that he would not be coming home this year.

You see, my husband would rather suffer through something than ask for help and he sure as hell would never hope for anything. He has always lived by the code that "if it's meant to be then it's up to me" and this time would be no different. He made a promise to me very early on that he would do whatever was necessary to come home to me as soon as the parole board would let him and he more than kept that promise. He did everything that was expected of him and then some. He became a trustee within the first six months of getting to prison; he held the highest job on his unit and in the 17 months that he has been in prison, he has been written up only once for being out of place but he appealed and won so the case was dismissed.

When it came time to parole, I really think my husband humored me when I suggested hiring a parole attorney to represent him. He knew I wouldn't back down and that it was useless to fight me. I swore that I would do whatever I could to level the playing field for him and if that meant hiring another lawyer, then I would. My husband had told me that all legal decisions were mine so I did what I thought was best for him and for us.

There is no greater feeling of helplessness than knowing that the fate of the man you love more than anything is in someone else's hands but I had to accept that it was out of my control and that was very hard for me. I had given my husband's parole attorney everything he had asked for and then some but was it enough? Did I forget anything? Had I really left no stone unturned? Did I do all I could? Hell ya I did! My husband was granted parole this morning and he will be home in a few short months.

So while to some, hope is a sucker's bet, when you square it up the way my husband did, there's no way you can lose.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Waiting Game

On Wednesday December 21, I received an email that I thought would never come. My husband's parole attorney contacted me to say that he had presented my husband's file to the Parole Board and that we should have a decision in about a week.

When my husband first went to prison almost 17 months ago, I knew when he would be eligible for parole so I set out to find the best parole attorney that I could afford. I was relentless in my search for the perfect person to entrust with my husband's life and our future. I researched parole lawyers until I became an expert in who they are and what they do. I checked out websites and references, sent emails and made phone call after phone call until I found, what I consider to be, the perfect man to represent my husband.

How did I know he was the one? Well for one thing, his office called me back within 30 minutes of receiving my email and to me that was huge. His assistant was very kind and considerate to the fact that I was so far away from my husband and reassured me that everything would be alright. We spoke for quite a while and not only did he reassure me but he never once mentioned money which I truly appreciated. He explained the process to me and what needed to be done. By the end of our call, I had pretty much made up my mind that this would be the firm to represent my husband. Now the question was would my husband agree? My husband has always been less than trustful of lawyers so how this one presented himself to him would be the deciding factor. If he didn't come across as genuine then I knew it would be a no-go and it would be back to square one. I would not go against what my husband wanted because I trusted his judgement more than I trusted my own.

My husband was sent a questionnaire and about two months later he met with this attorney at his unit. His opinion of this lawyer was bang on with my own. He said the lawyer seemed very genuine and knowledgeable and when I asked if he wanted me to hire him, all he said was "I trust you with my life and nobody wants me out more than you so this decision is yours." You see it is that blind faith that we have in each other that makes us "we". I will do whatever is necessary to protect him and there is not a doubt in my mind that he would do the very same thing for me.

My husband is eligible for parole very early in the New Year so it was very crucial that we started preparing as early as possible so I immediately set to work getting together everything that the lawyer would need for his presentation to the Parole Board. After several months I had it all; everything and then some. Nothing was left to chance and I left no stone unturned. Now that the file was complete, we would have to wait for the parole review process to begin. My husband finally met with the Institutional Parole Officer on his unit December 5 and his attorney made his presentation to the Parole Board on December 21.

So, all of this waiting and wondering, struggling and stressing, missing and crying has come down to this one moment. It's judgement week and while I can't talk to my husband and reassure him, I know he is thinking about me just like he knows I am thinking about him and while this is by far the most stressful thing that has happened to us in the last 17 months, we...will always be...we. No matter what.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Christmas Wish

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted and that’s partly because life has gotten in the way but also because this time of year, which should be a time of celebration and family and togetherness, has just reminded me that my family is not whole this year.

This is the first year that I will be without my mother, both of my grandparents and my husband and that reality is hitting me like a tonne of bricks. I am overwhelmed at the thought that the three people that helped to make me the woman I am today are no longer on this earth and the most important man in my life, my husband, is in another country sitting in prison for Christmas with his closest family 3,000 miles away.

For weeks, I have been trying to get into the Christmas spirit but it’s just not working. The shopping, the wrapping, the baking and the Christmas music just doesn’t seem to make a difference this year and while I am thankful for what I do have and that is a husband that loves me more than his own life and 4 children that are every bit the image of their mother and father, I want more. What some take for granted would be a Christmas miracle for me. My Christmas wish would be to have my husband home and not just on Christmas but every day. I want his face to be the first thing I see every morning and the last thing I see every night. I want to hear him say I love you every day and I want to see the love he has for me in his eyes when he says it. I want to sit down to dinner at the table with him and talk about nothing. I want to go for a walk with him and I want to hold his hand. I want to go for a long Sunday drive to nowhere in particular and I want to sit with him by a fire and watch the sun rise and set. But what I wish for most is to never miss him again because I have done nothing but miss him since August 4, 2010.

So, while this Christmas will undoubtedly be the hardest Christmas I have ever had, it also brings with it the promise of a better life to come; a life of happiness, togetherness and more love than I have ever had in my life. I just have to hold on a little while longer knowing that my Christmas wish is just going to be a little late this year but it is coming.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What are you gonna do?

By now, most of you have read my husband's guest post and by the number of hits it's received, it seems to have had a significant impact on those that follow my blog but it has had no greater impact than on me.

A few weeks ago, I asked my husband if he wouldn't mind writing something for this blog because I thought it might be nice for all of you to hear from the man I write about in his own words. I told him that he could write about anything he wanted. I never really thought he would write anything because it's one thing for him to tell me how he feels but it's another thing entirely to tell the whole world so I was surprised when, in a letter that he sent me, I noticed a single stand out paper with the words "My blog" written on the top.

As I read the words he had written, I was immediately taken back to the days that my husband was being hunted by the law and the desperation he was feeling. I remember his phone calls. I remember the worry I felt and I sure remember how close he came to not being here. He had always said that he would rather die than go to jail. I remember hearing the desperation in his voice when he would call just to see if I was alright. I remember the fear and the absolute helplessness that I felt trying to convince my husband that he was the most important thing in my life and how I needed him to be here. Those four days that he was gone were the worst days of my life. I didn't sleep. I didn't eat. I paced the floor waiting for his next call not knowing where he was at any given moment or if he was alive or dead.

I remember meeting my husband in his attorney's office and him asking "what are you gonna do when they take me back to Texas" and without hesitation I said "move to Texas". I really didn't think he believed me at first because he shook his head with this little grin of doubt on his face. I told him that when I said I was all in, I meant it. I meant it then and I mean it now. My husband was then and will always be one of the most important things in my life right alongside our 4 children.

That would not be the first test we would face as husband and wife. My husband would subsequently be deported from Canada and then extradited back to Texas where he is now 3,000 miles away from me.

Over these last 16 months, he has come to never doubt my commitment to him and to our family. There is nothing more important to me in this life than my husband and children and I am sure that on more than one occasion I have shown him my true colours and while I am a Canadian to the core, my heart belongs to a Texan sitting in a Texas prison.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Guest post by my husband, Cody

Well Kim has asked me to write a little something for her blog. I'm not as eloquent with the formation of words as she is but I'm going to put pen to paper and see what comes out.

"A soulmate is an ongoing connection with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over our lifetimes. We are attracted to another person at a soul level not because that person is our unique complement but because by being with that individual we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves."

This quote is important to me because anyone can be a wife or a husband. However, soulmates are hard to find. I've found mine in Kim. It took me a while to find her; 37 years and a different country but I did. I wasn't always a good guy. In fact, I danced with the devil quite often throughout my life.

There were times I didn't want to live anymore. I just wanted to give up. Kim knows how close I was to jumping off to the end and as I sat there having my debate with the devil and the angel one thing stopped me - Kim. She wasn't physically there but she was in my heart. I had finally found her and not long after, the law found me. I swore I'd never go to jail and that I'd rather die than do time. I was on the run and I put her through hell. I had to make a decision so I just thought about her - her smile, her smell, her patience with a man set in his ways; the way we talked about everything, something I've never been able to do; how she didn't judge me. She loved me. She stood up for me when no one would.

I had asked her one day, trying to push her away, "what are you gonna do when they take me back to Texas?" All she said was "move to Texas". In that instant, I knew she would. I knew I would have to go through some hard years to get back to my soulmate. How could I be a coward when she was so strong? Let's just say the devil lost and my Irish Angel prevailed.

Literally, I owe Kim my life, but it's our life now. Somehow she made me a "we". I don't think about my past anymore because my future is too bright. Kim filled a big hole in my heart. I truly wish everyone could find what I've found. She made me whole which brings me back to the original quote.

Now, to my sweet Irish Angel: "I love you like crazy and nothing else matters. I'll be home soon baby. Till then see you in my dreams."


Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Quest

I received two letters yesterday from my husband which, just like always, made my day. I am usually writing about how I feel about him but today I thought I would give him the floor and allow him to express how he feels about me. So, here is a small excerpt from one of the letters I received yesterday.

"I hope you know that you can always take my hand and I will try to make it better. That's my sole purpose in the rest of this life we have - to bring you joy. I think about my past and how I was to women. It's like I knew that they weren't you. I didn't even know you but for some reason my mind knew. That's why my journey has been so long. We were so far apart for so long but I never lost the picture I had in my head of the perfect woman for me. I had given up and was going to go through life miserable. You made me want to live again. Live for me, for us, for our kids. I realized I would have it all; everything I'd been searching for. That's why when you said you'd come to Texas I knew that even the devil couldn't stop us. I got the devil's number and he lost and I won. That's why the hell I'm in now I know will be worth it. I already know. I won. Now I'm going to get all that's mine. Nothing can stop me because I have you. I'm in prison and this is the first time I've been free in years, if ever. I want you to feel that way too.

I promise next life I'm going to find you sooner. Of course, it took my 38 years and another country to find you so maybe next time you can be in my hometown and we can be highschool sweethearts. I'm just really glad I found you is all. All I know is now that I've found you, I'd rather die than go without you. I want you to know that.

I love the Tim McGraw song "Everywhere" and you're right that it used to remind me of someone. That someone has always been you; your soul, your aura, you. Now I just have a beautiful face to go with the rest. I hope you see. As bad as I've been, it's been my quest for you that made me that way. I'm glad I never stopped looking. One day I hope our kids find what we have. I hope they know what we went through for each other. Love isn't dead. The quest for it is. I did it though. I never stopped and neither did you. We have it all in each other.

I love you."

~~ Everywhere ~~ by Tim McGraw

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Sunday

Today is one of those days where I just can't hold back the tears. I've tried to keep myself busy but my mind keeps me locked on my husband. As Christmas draws closer, I find myself missing him more and more if that's even possible. Missing my husband is like missing the air that I breathe or the beat of my heart. It just doesn't work without him.

Being in a city that you have lived in all your life and feeling like you don't quite fit anymore, because your heart is somewhere else, is by far one of the hardest things. It simply amounts to going through the motions until the day finally comes when your body can be where your heart has been for the last year and a half - with the man that you love more than your own life and there is nothing you won't do to make that happen.

Some may ask "why would you put yourself through this? Why wait for a man in prison?" The answer is really quite simple. We fit. We always have. I have loved my husband all my life. He is home to me. He may not be perfect but he is perfect for me.

There is a misconception that women who wait for men in prison must have low self esteem and nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases, a woman who waits for a man in prison, commits herself to a life of isolation and judgement. Family and friends turn their backs quite easily which is not really what a woman with low self esteem is looking for. A woman committed to a man in prison must find the strength inside her to stand alone against the masses; to fight for who and what she believes in and she will do it alone and without hesitation.

The only comfort she will most likely find are from other women in similar situations. There is a sense of loyalty among women who share a common thread and that is they all love a man doing time. Just because we are married to men in prison does not mean that our love is not pure and real and strong. To me, a marriage to an inmate is stronger than most free-world marriages. We commit ourselves body and soul to our husbands. Loyalty is our strongest asset and love is our greatness weakness.

You never know where we are and who we are so before you suggest that a woman being married to an inmate is desperate or naive, think again because if you don't we will not think twice about calling you out on it and I guarantee you won't win.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Yesterday was a really good mail day for me. I received a card from a new friend in New Mexico, a letter from a new friend in Texas and three letters from my husband. I can't explain what it's like to see an envelope with my husband's name in the top left corner. I can barely contain my excitement and I can't get the envelope opened fast enough to read what he has written. It just simply makes my whole day. My husband says the same thing. He lives for his mail and he knows to expect at least three letters a day from me every day. I have not missed one single day of writing for the last 482 days and I will continue until the day my husband walks through those prison gates and into my arms. He has such complete faith and trust in me that he knows if he doesn't get mail on any given day that it's time to let the mailroom know and you can bet that he knows exactly what days are missing.

Everything that we feel for each other is poured into these letters and if anyone were to read them, there would be no question as to the love we have for each other. It's the kind of love that gives you butterflies and can take your breath away. It's the kind of love that you never doubt because you know it will always be there. It's the kind of love that no matter the distance will never lose it's place. It's the kind of love that can take you from the darkest places in your mind to the warmest places in your heart. It's the kind of love that makes you forget what your life was like before because that life no longer matters. It's the kind of love you've wished for your entire life and you finally have. It makes you better...It's home. 

My husband tells me all the time that I am everything to him and I don't think I really understood the magnitude of what that meant until I got these last three letters from him. He mentioned how we used to talk and laugh all the time when we were together. He was amazed at how I never had to ask him when something was wrong because somehow I always knew. I am not sure I can explain it but it's just sort of a sense thing that I have with him. I can just feel it. The minute he would walk through the front door, I knew. Maybe it was the expression on his face or maybe it was the way he sat down or maybe it was just they way he said "hey", but I knew that if I let him come to it on his own, he would tell me and it would come out naturally and not forced. I remember meeting my husband for the first time and how I felt like I had known him all my life. There was a familiarity and a comfort that I had never had before. So, that's how I knew then and that's how I still know now. I just feel it.

Now that my husband finally has a radio, he listens to music all day and most times when he writes to me, he sends music home for me to listen to you. If you knew my husband at all, you would know that when he wants me to listen to something, it has meaning to him and nine times out ten it's going to make me cry and he did not disappoint me this time. He asked me to listen to several songs but one in particular affected me so much that I had to write about it. "Except for the brown hair", he said "this song was written about you. I just hope that when you hear it that you know where I'm at and for those few minutes of the song, we are together at that moment." Like he says "music and songs don't mean anything and yet they can mean everything."

So, while my husband may feel that I am everything to him, he is everything to me...and more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meant to be

Just when I thought I couldn't love my husband any more than I already do, he says something to me that makes me wonder how in the world I got so lucky to have him in my life. How, in this crazy mixed up world, with millions of people did we ever find each other? Was it luck? Was it by chance or was it something that was simply supposed to happen?

There is not a doubt in my mind that we were meant to be. This life is full of choices and every choice, good or bad, is meant to lead you where you are destined to be. There are no accidents. Each decision we make has a purpose and every choice has a result and it is the culmination of my choices that have led me straight to my husband.

I received two letters today that my husband wrote from November 8-13. As you know, November 9th was the anniversary of my mother's passing and of all the days that I wish my husband was home, that was the one I wished for most. Considering he is in prison and has to be on point all the time, I wouldn't have blamed him or been angry with him if this day had passed him by. But true to form, it didn't. He remembered. He knew that this day would be hard on me and he knew I needed him so while he may not have physically been here with me, he was my heart and he let me know. He said “I know this a tough day for you but know this, whenever you feel the saddest, I got your hand. I’m with you. Never forget.”

How does he know exactly when I need him and how does he always know exactly what to say to make it better? The love my husband has for me is something I will never, in this life or the next, take for granted because it is that love that has gotten me through some of the worst days of my life. When I am feeling alone and lonely, I take out his letters and I read his words and I am comforted in knowing that no matter what life throws at me, I will always have my husband and for that I will be forever grateful because we…are meant to be.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Call

Well it happened! Last night, the phone rang long distance and at first, I thought "not another telemarker?" but when I saw the area code, I thought it might be my husband and then I heard "you have a collect call. Please press "1" to accept the charges." I was so anxious that I didn't think I pressed "1" long enough and then I heard "Hey babe. What's up?" I can't tell you how I have longed to hear those words and finally, after 171 days I got to hear my husband's voice and it was just like I remember - slow and strong, southern and sexy.

Our call was limited to five minutes and they really did just fly by. He did most of the talking and I just listened, amazed that it was actually him. I can only compare having your call timed to speed dating - where you have got to cram a lot of information into a short amount of time and believe me that is no easy task when really all you want to do is keep repeating how much you love and miss each other.

There were a million things I wanted to say to him but the only thing that really mattered was that we got to say "I love you" and "I miss you". Having not gotten a call from my husband in six months, this one was like a double-edged sword because while I missed his voice and would have given anything to hear it, when the call finally came, reality set in that I wouldn't hear from him again for possibly another three months and that thought absolutely broke my heart. Even though I have said goodbye to him hundreds of times, it never gets easier and I think if it did, I couldn't really say that I love my husband with all that I am. It should never be easy to say goodbye to the love of your life.

Even though my husband has been in hell for nearly a year and a half and a lesser man would have given up, his sole focus has always been his wife and children and he would do anything for us. That has never been more evident to me than last night at 9:03pm. He wanted his phone call. He made his request and went through the proper channels. He was relentless and he never gave up and he never backed down. He did exactly what he set out to do 171 days ago. He got to talk to his wife!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nothing Else Matters

Well, today I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I received two more letters from my husband and I am absolutely over the moon about that. But the good news doesn't stop there. Nope. My husband told me that after six long months he has finally been approved to make a call to me! The minute I read those words in his letter, I burst into tears. I couldn't believe what I was reading so I read it again and then I read it one more time just to be sure. I re-read every word of that sentence three times really slowly in case I wasn't reading what I was seeing.

You see, I had resigned myself to the fact that, as long as my husband was in a Texas prison, I would never again hear his voice and that thought absolutely devastated me. There really are no words to express what it feels like to be told that the one voice you love more than any other, is the one voice you won't hear again for possibly a very long time. It's hard enough being 3,000 miles away from him and never seeing him but to never hear his voice again as long as there was this physical distance between us was just about more than I could take.

Every night, I sleep with the phone by my bed just in case and every night I pray that he will be allowed to call me and every morning I wake up and I am reminded of the reality that he didn't get to call. While my husband was in the county jail in Texas, he was allowed to call me as often as he wanted and that helped both of us immensely. We always knew that the other was alright and that was of great comfort and at times all we needed was just to hear the other say "I love you" and we could handle anything. So, when he was transferred to prison and we realized that he wouldn't be able to call anymore, we were both heartbroken but we both knew that "we" would always be OK. There wasn't anything that had happened or was going to happen that would change that.

I was telling my husband that a little while ago, I found out that sometimes those that get regular calls don't answer them because they are at an inconvenient time or simply because they want to punish their husband or wife for an argument they may have had. My husband said "soulmates can't help but answer. The connection makes us even if we are asleep and it's late. Our other half might need us and that's the whole reason for our existence so those people will never get it. Besides all that matters is us."

If I've learned anything at all from this time away from my husband and not being able to talk to him, it's that life is about little moments and it's those little moments, like a five minute phone call every six months, that are truly the things that mean the most. So, even if that five minute phone call never comes, I will always know in my heart that we will always be "we" and nothing else matters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

She Misses him on Sunday the Most

Well I heard a song today that stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't believe how well it described my husband and me and while it was really about a woman who had lost her husband, the message was the same. It talked about the little things that they used to do together and I was reminded of all of the little things that my husband and I would do when he was here.

We used to watch Jeopardy together just about every night and every time my husband got an answer right (which was most of the time) he would smile that smile of his and raise his index finger in the air just to let you know he was right. Friday nights we would watch Criminal Minds until we couldn't keep our eyes open. Saturday we would watch UFC and bet each other on the outcome. Sometimes he would win and sometimes I would but he always let me pick first. That brings us to Sunday and the day that I miss him the most.

Funny how far one day can set you back after all the hard work you've done throughout the week to keep yourself in check and not fall apart. I suppose it's because Monday to Friday I'm busy working and rushing kids all over and Saturday I play catch up with the housework and the bills but Sunday, oh, Sunday is just not a day I can ever get through unscathed. Every week I think this Sunday will be different but it isn't. I sit alone on the chair in our living room flipping through the channels on the tv trying to find something on that doesn't remind me of my husband but of course that's impossible. It is Sunday afterall and that day is all football all day. I know that things will be so different when he comes home and Sunday will be just like it used to be but for now, as hard as I try, Sunday will always be the day I miss my husband the most.

Little moments

It's been a few days since I've written anything largely in part because I haven't really felt inspired to write; that is until today. I received a letter from my husband and that always inspires me. It never ceases to amaze me at the depth of his love for me and that is something that has taken some getting used to. When you finally have what you've always wanted in life, someone that was put on this earth just for you, it can overwhelm you and for the first little while it did. I'm not saying that some of the things that my husband says still don't take my breath away but I have come to accept that I have had an impact on him just as he has had one on me.

He started out by teasing me a bit about the attention that my blog has been getting since I started writing back in August and how small I was compared to our two girls. That's his way. Then he mentioned how proud he was of me and how he had hoped that I would continue blogging even after he came home.

When I started writing, I didn't think that I would really have much to say. I thought I might write a few things and that maybe a few of my friends would read my blog. I never imagined that nearly 2,500 people from all over the world would visit my blog page and continue to come back time after time to read the things I write. One woman who reads my blog regularly said "I swear sometimes I'm so excited about your blogs I'm like a lil kid on Christmas Eve". Another woman said "You are a beautiful writer and have put what so many of us feel every day, and feel like no one else in the world understands, into such eloquent words. Thank you for sharing your journey..." That's some pretty powerful stuff.

When it comes to writing about my husband and me, it comes very naturally to me. I don't even have to think about it very much. I just sit down and the love I have for him just comes out. As he says "it's smooth like butter". As anyone who has read this blog knows, I send everything I write to my husband and at his suggestion, I am considering writing a book about our journey together - the good, the bad and the ugly.

He has been, and continues to be, my greatest supporter not to mention the inspiration for everything I write and that is hard for him to absorb. When you have been through what he has been through in his life, it’s hard to believe that you will find that someone you were meant to be with and that there will be a happily-ever-after. So, to say he was very guarded when we first met would be, I think, very accurate. You see the kind of love that we have for each other is uncharted territory for both of us and while it may have taken us a minute to finally find each other and another minute to let go of all of what we thought love was, it's the millions of minutes we have ahead of us that matter most.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I wasn't ready for this!

Today, I decided to take the girls to the mall just to get out of the house and do some normal family things. By the time we arrived, the parking lot was packed with cars and there were people bustling everywhere. Because I really do hate shopping, I figured this trip would be, at best, an annoyance, but what actually happened was something I wasn't quite prepared for.

As I walked through the front doors of the shopping centre, I was immediately hit with the scent of cinnamon and pine. There were Christmas decorations everywhere and the more I walked the more I was reminded that my husband wouldn't be home for Christmas again this year.

So, there I was standing in the middle of the shopping mall trying to control what I knew was about to happen. In those first few moments, a thousand thoughts and emotions overtook me. I was thinking about the tree that my husband wouldn't put up and the gifts we won't stay up late wrapping together and the smile on his face when he sees his children open their gifts and the sadness in his eyes knowing that he won't be waking up beside me on Christmas morning.

The sight of families shopping together and laughing and drinking hot chocolate and coffee was nearly too much for me and as my eyes began welling up with tears, I realized that if I gave into what I was feeling that I would not be able to regain my composure and my girls would sense that. I knew I couldn't let them see the sheer sadness I felt in my heart not having my husband beside me.

So, while the holidays are a time for families to be together and to appreciate the gifts that they have been given, I can't help but be disappointed that my family is not together in its entirety. I will, however, always be grateful for the gift of my husband and children and I will continue to do what needs to be done for them and hope and pray that this is the very last Christmas that we spend apart.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In Memoriam

I would like to dedicate my blog today to my mother on the 6th anniversary of her passing.

My mother was born on St. Patrick’s Day 1945 and was an only child. While she may have been an only child, she certainly wasn’t a lonely child as she grew up surrounded by her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My grandmother's family was large and to them my mother was like the baby of the family. Two of her uncles held a very special place in heart. When she needed anything they would be the ones she would call. She could always depend on them and they on her.

My mother worked in a pharmacy for 30 years and during that time, she delivered medication to the elderly; most of whom had no family. She had a real soft spot for them and she always listened to them and treated them with the utmost dignity and respect. She felt obligated to them and responsible for them.

It is that sense of responsibility that she passed on to her children. She taught us to always be compassionate, independent and respectful (not only of others but of themselves). “Treat others as you would like to be treated” she always used to say.

My mother dedicated her life to her three children and her three grandchildren. She would have done anything for us even if that meant she had to do without and she never complained. She never complained about having to raise three children on her own on a very modest salary. Yet to the amazement of most, she managed. We were never hungry, never had holes in our shoes and always had brand new clothes for the first day of school.

When my brother wanted to play hockey, she made sure he played. When my sister and I wanted roller skates for Christmas, she made sure we got them. There were no obstacles for my mother, merely bumps in the road. She was so committed to her children that she never missed one of our sporting events.

My mother didn’t just come to games and practices because we were playing, she actually loved watching sports. She was a real hockey and football fan. She loved watching the Toronto Maple Leafs play at Maple Leaf Gardens and at the Air Canada Centre. She also loved football. She followed whatever team my brother worked for whether it be the Ottawa Roughriders, the Ottawa Renegades or the Hamilton Tigercats. Her allegiance was not so much to the team as it was to him.

Perhaps my mother's most important commitment was to her parents. When my grandfather was in the hospital, my mother visited him twice a day every day for three months until his passing in March of 1995. Later, as my grandmother couldn’t get out of her apartment on her own very much, my mother visited her every day and telephoned her at least twice a day. She would take my grandmother her medications, and get her groceries and she would bring her coffee and muffins on Sunday. Sometimes she would just go to my grandmother's to watch the football game. It didn’t matter what the weather or the time, if my grandmother needed her, my mother was always there.

My mother's godchild once said “you could always talk to her and she never judged you. She just listened and she always made you feel better.” That was her way. Her heart was always open.

My mother's life was selfless and her love was endless. I will always take comfort in knowing that there are angels among us and my mother is certainly one of them.

Monday, November 07, 2011

If there hadn't been you

Normally when I write, it's about my husband so tonight I thought I would try something a little different and write to him.

Today started out just like the last 464 days without you. I woke up at 6:30am, showered, made lunches and got the girls off to the school bus and then started my work day. You would think after nearly 16 months, I would be used to being here and going through the day-to-day without you but, guess what? I will never get used to you not being here with me and raising our family. I will never get used to watching Jeopardy or UFC by myself or going to bed alone and waking up without you beside me.

I miss our kitchen banter - you know the way we used to stand around and just laugh and talk and tease each other. Your laugh is contagious and your smile can soften the hardest heart. Knowing that smile was just for me made me feel so blessed to have you in my life.

If there hadn't been you, I wonder what my life would be like. Would I have ever found the kind of love that I have with you? Having felt the love that you had for me then and the love you have for me now, I know without a doubt that you are the man I have been waiting for all of my life. You are the man I want to share my dreams with and the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to grow old with you and sit on the porch like old people do. In you, I see a better me. I see my future.

If there hadn't been you, I wouldn't have been given the opportunity to fight for what I want, for what I believe in...for you. If there hadn't been you, I wouldn't be me and I wouldn't finally have the love of my life. So, I thank you for being you because...all my dreams would still be dreams if there hadn't been you.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

True family

As anyone who has read my blogs knows, I am a member of several online support groups for families with incarcerated loved ones. I have managed to narrow it down to a few small groups as I have discovered that when looking for support, even on a site whose sole purpose is support, you are really rolling the dice at which ones are actually supportive and which ones are simply social networks.

Not long ago, while posting on one of these sites about how alone I felt being 3,000 miles away from my husband without any family, I met a wonderful woman from Texas. The moment she found out how alone I really was, she offered to "adopt" me as her niece. When she first said that she would be my "auntie", I thought the gesture was very nice but that it was no more than that - a gesture. I never truly believed that it would amount to anything more than that. I could not have been more wrong. She didn't think twice about welcoming a woman she has never met and who lives in another country into her family. She opened her heart and her family to me when noone else would. When my own family turned their backs on me, she stood behind me. She has comforted me when I have felt lost and she has encouraged me when I have felt defeated.

On this journey, there will always be people that are quick to offer help but very few will actually follow through. She is by far one of the very few, not just in this situation but in this life, that will go above and beyond for her family and that has never been more clear to me than now.

She said something to me today that brought me to tears. She said "Kim you are by far one of the sweetest most compassionate people I have ever known. Your husband does have an angel. Family is not always what we want. Sometimes choosing our family is better." She couldn't be more right.

We both have a family member incarcerated in a Texas prison and while that common thread is what initially brought us together, it is her unselfish way and her heart as big as Texas that will keep us connected and will always make her family to me.

So, to auntie Janet thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

You Make me Better

Well, I think that it's time to break out the tissues. I received two letters yesterday from my husband and boy does he love his wife! He had me in tears from the word go. He told me about a song he heard on the radio that he had forgotten about and that had gotten him all choked up. He said not to listen to it if I wasn't in the crying mood. The minute I saw the title of the song, my eyes welled up with tears because I had heard it before and I had always wished and hoped for that kind of love - the kind of love that makes you weak in the knees and gives you butterflies - the kind of love that can conquer anything and lets you know that you have finally found what you've always been looking for and that is your other half.

He said "I bet your crying right now" and he was right. I was but I listened to it anyway and I cried even more. My tears were partially because I missed my husband but mainly because of the message it sent. It reminded me of him and also surprised me at the true depth of his love for me and I have never had that before. To be loved so completely by another human being is by far the greatest gift. For my husband to feel that just being with me and being loved by me makes him better is an awe inspiring and all encompassing feeling. I thought I always knew the depth of my husband's love for me but after this letter, it's never been more clear.

~~"It's your love" by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill. I dare you to listen to it and not cry.~~

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Never back down!

Well here we are the first of November. Wow! Where has the year gone? Some days it feels like my husband has been gone for just a second and then other days, it really does feel like he has been gone for 457 days. Today is one of those days.

Last night, my girls and I dressed up and went out for Halloween. Actually, the girls went trick-or-treating and I stayed home and passed out candy but I was dressed up - as a cat. I was sitting on the step wrapped up in a blanket because it was quite cold out, when I was reminded of the last Halloween that we had together as a family. My husband and our girls were sitting around the table in the living room carving pumpkins. They were laughing and joking and having a great time together and when they were finished there was pumpkin everywhere. The girls went out together and when they came home, my husband rooted through their bags looking for his favourite candy - tootsie rolls! He would not be disappointed. So, as I was sitting there on the step, in the cold, I hoped and prayed that this would be the last Halloween and Christmas that we would spend apart.

I received a letter today from my husband that actually took my breath away. He was just very appreciative of everything that he feels that I have done for him which, to me, is only a fraction of what he has done for me. He doesn't realize it quite yet but he has brought out the fighter in me. He has made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. He has reinforced in me what I've always known and that is to stand up for who and what you believe in no matter what. Never back down. Never give up. To me, he is the best example of strength there is. I'm sure if you asked him, he would say that it's me that's the strong one but, in all honesty, I think that we make each other better by making each other stronger.

So, while my husband is in as close to hell as there is on this earth, one thing I know for sure and that is that he will always fight for us and he will never back down and it is because of the fighter that he his that I will never give up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Resolve to Stay the Course.

In a little over a week, it will be the 6th anniversary of my mother's passing. She died November 9th, 2005 at exactly 9:02pm at the age of 60 and I have missed her every day since. This year is especially difficult for me because my husband is not here with me and he can't call me to tell me he loves me and that everything is going to be alright. I can't see his handsome face and the way he smiles at me that lets me know that it will be.

Growing up in a single parent home as the oldest of three children was not an easy thing. Great things are expected of you whether you want it or not. Maturity comes quickly along with responsibility that you are, more often than not, not ready for. Your childhood is not your own when you have to change diapers at five years old and feed your baby brother while your mother works to put food on the table.

Don't get me wrong, my mother worked hard. We may not have had the brand names that everyone else had, but we never went without. We were never hungry. We always had what we needed even if it wasn't what we wanted. Milk bags covered our shoes in our boots but our feet were never wet and never cold. My mother was at every single one of my school sporting events. She always brought juice and gum for the whole team. She sat in the front row at graduation and she stood up when they called my name. My mother wasn't the touchy feely type that hugged and kissed you all the time but in her own way she let you know she loved you.

On November 14, 2005 I did something that I never thought I would do. I wrote my mother's eulogy. It was, by far the hardest thing I have ever done, or at least I thought it was. The hardest thing I would ever do would come five short years later when I would have to say goodbye to my husband. He would be taken back to Texas and it would be then that our commitment to each other would be tested and tested hard. One thing we have always known and that is we will always be we and no distance, no matter how far, will ever break that.

So, on November 9, while I will miss my mother just like I have every day for the last six years, I will miss my husband more.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My hero!

The week is nearly over which, for some, is a good thing and for the most part it is for me as well. It means that my husband is one week closer to coming home but with the weekend approaching it is also somewhat bittersweet because that means no mail. Mail in Canada only runs Monday to Friday.

I can't tell you how much getting letters from my husband means to me. It keeps me close to him. I think in some ways letters are better than phone calls. Sure calls are wonderful because I actually get to hear my husband's voice but our time is limited to five minutes. Letters give us both the luxury of time; time to think about each other completely and totally. It's an all encompassing feeling to just focus on each other for as long as it takes to say what needs to be said.

In a letter that I recently received from my husband, he talked about his love for me, his commitment to me and to our children and to our life. He told me how proud he is of me and that I just may very well be his hero. Hero? I can honestly tell you that was one of the most overwhelming things he has ever said to me.What my husband doesn't seem to realize is that HE is the hero of this family. He is the one doing time and being subjected to the most humiliating and demoralizing situations one can imagine. He is the one being treated as less than a human being. But he is also the one rising above all that is thrown at him and he is doing his time his way. In my eyes, he will always be my hero.

To others, my husband may come across as this big Texas bad ass, hard right to the core, but to me he will always be the man that holds my heart in the palm of his hand and you know what? It's never felt safer.

Promises made. Promises kept.

Today when I got home from work, there were two letters waiting for me on the table. That's what I like to see - mail from my husband. He mentioned something in one of his letters that I had been meaning to write about but I wanted to devote an entire post to it and not just simply a mere mention.

Up until recently, my husband had been transferring all over Texas for at least a month and while he was "in transit" he wasn't allowed to write to me. Going from unit to unit, you are only allowed to take basic necessities with you and TDCJ does not consider paper, envelopes, stamps and a pen necessities. So, I was not expecting to hear from him for quite some time. I knew that it would be at least 10 days after he returned to his unit before I would get a letter. To my surprise, I received a letter within a week of his return. The paper that he used was not the regular lined paper that I send him. I did however recognize this paper as being from the journals that I send. I came to find out that he snuck some paper with him in his bible so that he could write to me. He risked a major case taking paper with him because it would be considered contraband. While a part of me is upset with him for taking that risk, I understand why he did  it. He loves his wife.

I have never doubted that love for one second just like I have never doubted that he would keep a promise he made to me over a year ago that he would always be OK. I took a leap of faith with that promise and I have never been sorry. My husband very rarely makes promises so when he does, you know two things are going to happen: he will take that promise very seriously; and, he will not fail. It is this blind faith that we have in each other that keeps us committed and connected and it is that same faith that will get us through this time apart. We will come out on the other side of this stronger and more in love with each other than when we started. Of that, I have no doubt.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You can change the world!

Tonight just feels like one of those nights where I need to make a post. As some of you may already know, I am a member of several support groups whose main purpose is to support women with either husbands or partners or children who are incarcerated. As a matter of fact, I wrote about one not too long ago thanking them for the support they had showed me since I joined their group. While it is one thing to be supportive of someone through the safety of an online support group, it is another thing entirely to have one of those members call you on the phone all the way from England!

Several weeks ago, I met a woman on one of these sites whose husband is in TDCJ. We had exchanged posts and stories and discovered that we had a lot in common. We were both thousands of miles away from our husbands and neither one of us got calls because, as we all know, TDCJ does not allow inmates to make international calls. We also both have family that have distanced themselves from us for the choice that we have made to stand by our husbands at all costs - a choice I guarantee you they will regret before we will. We talked and commiserated for quite some time about several bones of contention we had with the Texas justice system and the treatment of our respective husbands.

At the end of our call, she said to me "You know Kimberley, I just love your blogs. I read them all the time and some of them make me cry." While I know that what I write affects me right to the core of my being, I hadn't really realized the impact that they had on other people who are in the same, if not a very similar situation to my own. I have sent just about every blog that I have written to my husband and I always look for his approval on what I write and I get it in spades every time. He says "I get choked up when I read your blogs. I knew that people would love them. They are real. They are raw and it gives people something to believe in. You are helping people." I receive comments quite regularly about what I write and they are all wonderfully supportive and I appreciate every one of them. But truth be told, when I receive a comment like "this was definitely an amazing blog. It honestly brought tears to my eyes and made me remember to not take even the littlest things for granted with my other half", I know that I am making a difference so even though I've always been told, "You can't change the world"...maybe, just maybe, I am.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

He's stronger than he thinks!

Well finally, after what seemed like forever, I received a letter today from my husband. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see his name in the top left-hand corner of an envelop in my mailbox. It just brings me a sense of peace and comfort when mail finally arrives from Texas. As long as my husband is writing then I know that he's OK.

Today's letter had a bit of a somber tone to it. He was clearly in an enormous amount of pain and that is not something I take lightly at all. He is as tough as nails so for him to openly admit he is hurting is saying a lot. He seemed at his wit's end and he was unsure what to do about it. He was frustrated and he was irritated. He's not getting any real relief from the pain that he's in 24/7 and the one thing that could relieve all of his pain is the one thing that the prison won't do and that's surgery. So, he does the best he can because, at this point, there is no other choice. He has always said that he will do what he needs to do to come home safely to me and by the livin' Jesus he is doing just that.

As you all know, it's been over a year since we've seen each other and we don't often talk about that. Surprisingly, in this letter he talked about it. For some reason, some women think that if a man really, truly loved them he would remember absolutely everything about them; every outfit they wore, every good hair day they had and most certainly every word they have ever said. I've never put that expectation on my husband so when he remembers something that I think he might not have paid attention to, it makes me smile. He remembered the last time we saw each other in New York right before he went back to Texas. He remembered the smile on my face when I saw him, the jeans that I wore and he remembered how he felt and what was going through his mind when I had to leave him after our visit. He remembered how important it was to him not to break down in front of me and he remembered how heartbroken he was when I left. He stayed strong for me and it is that strength he showed then and continues to show now that will get me through this time without him.

You see he always talks about how he gets through this time because of me and today was no different. Today, he said "it's been because of you that I've held it together through the courts, the chains and the pain". You see each time my husband went to court, I wasn't there and I have felt guilty about that every single day. He stood there and faced all that negativity alone and it was my place to be there with him and I wasn't and I feel that I failed him. If you were to ask him, though, he would tell you that I was with him the entire time; in his heart and in his soul. It will, more than likely, take me a little while to forgive myself but with the love of my husband all things are possible.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Irish always get what they want!

If you have been reading my posts lately, you will know that on Thanksgiving weekend I received a text from my husband's best friend that somewhat unnerved me. My husband calls his best friend every weekend, or at least he tries to anyway. On this particular weekend, I was told that he sounded more frustrated than he has ever sounded since being in TDC and that's saying a lot. He was in an enormous amount of pain and he had just returned from medical chain from Galveston hospital where he underwent an EMG. For those that don't know, an EMG is an electromyogram which is used to assess the function of nerves and muscles. It is by far not the most pleasant experience my husband has ever had and to hear him tell it, it is actually quite painful.

When he returned to his unit, he wasn't sent back to the cell he left on the first floor. Instead, he was assigned to the second floor and on a top bunk. For a man that has been put on movement restriction and is not allowed to stand for any lengthy period of time, is not allowed to lift anything over five pounds and is not allowed to have his arms over his head, it makes absolutely zero sense to me that he would be put on the second floor where he has to climb stairs several times a day and be put on a top bunk. If he isn’t supposed to lift more than five pounds, why would he then be expected to lift his 200 pound self up to a top bunk?

Well all my husband had to say to me was “do something please” and I did. I called the unit the very next day and was prepared to do battle for him just like always. I spoke to the practice manager who is, in actual fact, the facility health administrator. She was very nice and pleasant as was I, but I was prepared not to be if necessary. I told her who I was and what I wanted done and to my surprise she agreed to speak to my husband’s doctor that afternoon about having him moved back down to the first floor and to a bottom bunk. The doctor agreed and my husband was moved that night. So, while that may not seem like a big deal, I see it as a victory for my husband.

One thing you should know and that is when my husband or my children need my help, I will always be there for them even if it is from 3,000 miles away. My husband always says “I know how you like your fights” and he is right. I do like my fights but only when it is absolutely necessary and while I may not be able to do much for him, apart from writing to him every day and putting money on his books, I sure can raise a little hell if needed. I’m just glad, for TDC’s sake, it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Preparing for the vote!

Well today is exactly three months until my husband reaches his parole eligibility date or PED as some call it. So, what exactly does this mean? This is the earliest day that my husband could be released to come home and serve the remainder of his sentence in the community and that is a day I have been praying for, for the last 435 days.

The vote can only go one of two ways. Yes or No. So, how do you prepare for no vote? Better yet, how do you prepare for a yes vote? Either way, you've got to get your mind right about both possibilities. A no vote means, you dig a little deeper in your strength stores and square up for another year without him. A yes vote means the sky's the limit and after a possible total of 526 long days you will finally be together the way you were always meant to be.

Preparing for a parole vote is no easy task. The first thing that you need to do is decide whether you want to hire a parole attorney or go it alone and prepare a parole packet yourself. I opted for the attorney. For me, hiring a parole attorney was a choice that was very easy for me to make and not because I felt that my husband would stand no chance without one but simply because I could not be my husband's voice to parole the way an attorney could and after countless hours of research, I decided on, what I feel, is the best choice for my husband.

My husband entrusted this decision to me and believe me it was not one that I took lightly by any means. I researched parole attorneys in Texas for weeks and when I found one I liked, I read everything I could find on him. I reviewed his website thoroughly, checked him out on the Texas State Bar and reviewed dozens and dozens of independent testimonials not connected to his website. In short, I left no stone unturned when it came to deciding who would be the man that I would entrust with my husband's future and ultimately his life.

Once I decided on an attorney, it was very important that my husband meet him and while the final decision was mine, I am glad that they met and that my husband liked him. Then the real work began. The process of putting together a parole packet is quite daunting but it is a very necessary step in the process. Letters of support, photos, educational background, work history and plans for parole are all crucial information that must be provided to the parole attorney in short order. Some may think that gathering all of this information is the hardest part in this whole process. To me, the hardest part is trusting your husband's fate to a man you've never met and at some point, resigning yourself to the fact that you have done all you can for the man you love.

I have faith in the efforts and choices that I have made and I have faith in the parole attorney that I have hired but I cannot help but be in awe of my husband's commitment, resolve and dedication to his family and to himself and for that I will be forever proud. My faith in him is unwavering and my love for him is eternal and for that I will always be grateful.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What are you thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada and I just put the turkey into the oven and I am preparing for another holiday without my husband and that is a very sobbering thought. We have now been apart for four Thanksgiving Days - two Canadian and two American and while I am reminded every day that my husband isn't here, the fact that it is a holiday makes no difference to me.

Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas or the third Thursday of November, he still isn't here. I am sure that a lot families of inmates feel more apart on holidays than any other day and that is probably because the focus is on it being a holiday and that being with your family is what you should be doing and a part of your family is missing and maybe has been for a while. 

While holidays are a time of reflection and a time for family, shouldn't we all be happy in knowing that even though we may not be together, we are a part of a family and that bond will always keep us together regardless of the date?

I want to share something with all of you that my husband sent to me. Even though he isn't a religious man, he is very spiritual and when he sends me quotes, I know that they have moved him.

"To the helper and protector of all children, the comfort of the solitary, and those who are separated from those they love, I ask you to give them a good gift for the body and for the soul, and to unite everyone, present and absent, in true faith and love."

So, while I am not thankful that my husband is in prison, I do thank God every single day for setting us both on a path that was destined to lead us to each other. When I look back on it, I realize that every choice we have made, good or bad has brought us to this life that we are building together and there is no greater gift than that.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Well, it's been a few days since I've posted and considering I just received 3 letters from my husband today, I thought it would be a good day to write. It's always a great comfort to me when I get letters from my husband because then I know he's OK. As long as the mail runs, he's good so every day I hope and I pray that there's something in the mailbox for me from Texas. There are days when I am disappointed and then there are days, like today, when I can't get those letters opened fast enough to read what he's written.

My letters are my only connection to my husband and they are very precious to me. You know I have been talking to a lot of women in some of the support groups that I am a part of and they can't believe that the only communication I have with the love of my life is the mail. When talking about phone calls, one woman said to me: "WOW, five minutes every 90 days seems unreal & inhumane. I didn't know prisons had the right to do such a thing!!! My Lord, I had no clue that some of you don't get to talk or visit or hear from your husband's. I am praying for you all. Please inform me of any petitions you have going so I can support you. Hang in there Kimberley...God Bless".

That is only one of at least a dozen emails that I received tonight. These women all wanted to know if I had a petition and where it was and to my surprise they all signed it without hesitation. That kind of support right there you can only get from another prison wife or mother. Sure people say they understand but if you haven't been where I am, you really have no idea what it's like to be 3,000 miles away from the man you love and not be able to hear his voice and to worry every single day where he is and if he's alright. So, yes my letters are like gold to me.

The letters that I received today were from September 13, 17 and 26. You see how long things take sometimes to get to me? Most of the time, my husband just talks about his day and how he's feeling about things. And then there are times when he will talk about everything and anything. His hopes. His dreams. His plans for our family's future. I think it makes him feel alive to be making plans and to know that he is a part of something bigger than the prison that he is in. His body may be locked up 24/7 but his mind is free and his heart is free. He is loved unconditionally for the husband that he is to me and the father that he is to our children. He is a man who loves his family with everything he has and with everything he is and no prison can ever take that away from him.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Gloves are off!

It's Thanksgiving weekend here and while I thought that it might be a nice stressfree weekend, it has turned out to be anything but that. I received an email this afternoon from my husband's best friend in Colorado and I have been in a state of anxiousness ever since.

My husband has been on medical chain since August 17 and he has been to the hospital in Galveston twice and is still no further ahead in knowing what, if anything, TDCJ is going to do to help him. While his medical condition has always been a concern for me, it hasn't been the only concern that I have had. Like any wife or husband of an inmate, you constantly worry for their safety. You worry if they are strong enough physically and mentally to handle anything or anyone that may come their way in prison. Before my husband's medical condition worsened, I would have said without a doubt in my mind that he could have physically handled anyone that crossed his path or threatened his safety. And while I don't know for certain that my husband's safety has been threatened, it is certainly on my mind and has been all day.

The only information that I do know for certain is that my husband is now in a cell with another man that is serving a 27 year sentence. I could say that if this man is in for 27 years then he must have done something really bad but then again we are talking about Texas to and he could very well be in for that length of time because of something less than what I think. However, the fact that my husband mentioned it, to me means that it's more than likely a bad thing. You see up until now, my husband has done his best to protect me from the truth about prison life and for that I will be forever grateful.

My husband doesn't usually ask for help because he doesn't like to ever feel that he owes anyone anything. So, if he asks for help you know two things: one, it was hard for him to ask and two, that it's something that he can't handle himself and that is what unnerves me because my husband can handle anything. So, what's a wife to do? Well I could sit and stress and worry and actually I have done that for most of the day today but then there comes a point where my fear and stress turn to anger and action and I am at that point right now.

So, I will get through this weekend as best I can having faith in my husband that he is doing whatever is necessary to stay safe but when Monday comes, the gloves are off and I will do battle for him and I will get what I want and I will tell you this...TDCJ won't know what hit em!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Soul Mates

~~The supreme state of human love is the unity of one soul in two bodies~~

If you had to describe your soul mate, what would you say? There are probably a few little catch phrases you might use like “we belong together” or “we were meant to be”. But what does it take to be soul mates?

I am not really sure that I know the answer to that question and I am not sure that I ever really believed in there being one perfect person for each of us…until now.  So, how do I know that my husband is my soul mate?

Well for starters he is American and I am Canadian and while that may not be such a big deal and may not qualify as making you soul mates, you need to know that my husband is from Texas and I am from Ontario – 3,000 miles apart.

My husband had another life before me and I had another life before him. He lived the fast life and in the public eye. I was a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom raising two children on my own. We didn’t know it then, but there were times when we were both in the exact same place at the exact same time and we never met.

Like my husband says, being soul mates is not just about love and being in love, it’s a lifestyle. To me, it’s a state of awareness that there is an incomplete soul looking for you that won’t rest until it’s found it’s other half.

For those that have yet to experience what it is like to find their soul mate, all I can tell you is that when you find it you will know. Everything will finally make perfect sense.

As a prison wife, there are a lot of what if moments and this life can break you if you let it. But if you have truly found the man you have always been meant to be with, those what if moments will serve as a connection and a bond that can never be broken.

My husband and I have a connection that continues to amaze me but not surprise me. We have had all real time communication taken away from us and still we are connected. We not only finish each other’s sentences but answer questions that haven’t even been asked yet. When you have finally found your soul mate you can't imagine your life without him. You can't remember what your life was like before him and even if you could, would that life matter? You can remember the first time you saw him, the first time he kissed you, the first time he told you he loved you. You can go right back to that moment in time.

You can feel his heart beat right alongside yours even though you haven’t seen each other in a year. You can remember the sound of his voice and his laugh and the way he makes you feel when he says “can I ask you a question?”

While I didn't know it at the time, I found my soul's other half in September 2009 and while he may be sitting in a prison in Texas 3,000 miles away from me, our souls are right where they belong...home!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

What we should be doing

Good Sunday morning!

Another week has passed and that means that my husband is one week closer to coming home. He has now been gone 424 days or a little over 60 weeks and while that amounts to a little over a year, to me it's a lifetime.

There are a lot of things that we should be doing right now and missing each other isn't one of them. We should be gearing up for Sunday football on TV or, even better, going to a game and freezing our butts off because that's how footbal was meant to be watched, outside in the cold. We should be standing in the kitchen bsing one another, making chili, having a few beers and betting with each other to see whose team is going to win. You see I will always bet against him because, well, it's just more fun that way. We should be doing all these things...but we're not. Hopefully, this time next year we will be sitting in the Dallas Cowboy's Stadium together with our family watching a game, eating hotdogs and lovin life.

In the meantime, I am sitting here watching football and making chili and my husband is sitting in a 6x8 cell waiting on medical chain...again and I hate that. I hate that he's missing out on things. I hate that he can't watch the Dallas Cowboys kicking butt and most of all I hate that he isn't here living the life he truly deserves and was always meant to have with me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fighting Irish!

Well here we are at the end of another week. Yesterday I finally received a letter from my husband. It's been well over 2 weeks since I've heard anything from him because as you all know, he's been on the Texas tour since August 17 and has only been able to write very sporadically which, of course, always leads me to sit and wonder how he is.

Quite honestly, I don't know how he does it.  Most days it's well over 110 degrees in Texas and to have to go on medical chain, or any other kind of chain for that matter, is more often than not unbearable. The heat, the close quarters, being chained to your seat mate and throw a whole lot of pain into the mix and you've got the makings of a potentially volatile situation. Yet my husband continues to handle himself with the strength, dignity and commitment of 10 men. He will not let TDC break him. Failure is not an option for him and that is only one of the many things I love about him.

Now how I handle it is a whole other story. While I will not be broken, I won't lie and say that I haven't come close but I have discovered, through this journey, that there is support for you if you look for it. What has now become my greatest support, is a group that I stumbled upon accidentally. I was asked to be a part of it and at first I figured "Well alright. What harm could there be?" Little did I know when I joined, that this group of women would become my family. They are my strongest supporters and my greatest allies and to all of them I thank them from the bottom of my Irish heart for without them, I may have just let TDC win!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Playin to win!

So, it's Tuesday and we are just about mid-week and I am about to write a post that my husband will not see. I have sent him every post I have made since I started blogging a little over a month ago. I have to say that the interest in my blog has been overwhelming, to say the least, so thank you all for continuing to read my story.

The reason that this post will not be sent to my husband will be clear in a few short sentences and I am hoping you all will understand why I can't send it to him. Without getting too much into it, I am on my way to have an ultrasound done and, for the wishful thinkers, unfortunately, I am not pregnant. I have known for about 3 weeks now that this test needs to be done and quite honestly it has me scared out of my mind. I cannot and will not tell my husband because of the worry that this will cause him and I will not now nor ever put him in a position of helplessness. Right now, he can do nothing. He can't call and tell me that everything will be alright and by the time he writes to me 10 days will have passed and what could be something, could be nothing.

In the year that my husband has been in prison, he has remained strong and focussed and determined and should he get wind of this, it will undoubtedly throw him off his game and all that he has accomplished to date, will be for not. I won't let that happen.

Now that I have had my test, I must wait 5 days for the results which, if I let it, can easily overwhelm me and throw me off my game and I can't let that happen. My children need me. My husband needs me and I can't let them down for anything in this world. So, while some who read this may say that I am a strong prison wife, really at the core of me I am just a wife and mother who must now play the hand she is dealt and guess what? I WILL WIN!

Monday, September 26, 2011

My husband's voice

Well it's just about 9:00pm on Sunday night and the kids are getting ready for bed. They've showered and picked out their clothes for school tomorrow. Both girls are quietly reading in their rooms which is really quite nice considering most times they fight like cats and dogs.

Today has been one of those days where I've been a bit overwhelmed with things. There is no one thing in particular that set the tone for the day. I guess it was just a combination of things. The groceries needed to be done, homework needed to be finished, bills to pay, work to do (did I mention that not only do I hold a full-time job from 8:30 to 4:00, I also work from home at night?) and of course, find a job in Texas. So, to say I am a little overworked is just about right. The one voice that can always put me at ease and reassure me that everything is going to be alright is the one voice I can't hear from and the one I miss the most.

A coworker of mine joked the other day saying "Damn girl! You've got broad shoulders" meaning that I seem to be able to take the hits and keep coming back for more.

When my husband was allowed to call me, all I would need to hear from him is "You and me, back to back, nothing else matters" and I instantly knew that everything would be alright. I haven't heard his voice in 4 months and I haven't seen his face in over a year and I miss it.

You know there is just something so reassuring about hearing the voice of the man you love tell you he loves you that makes everything OK and gives you exactly what you need to keep going and from what my husband tells me, the same can be said for him. He says that he could be having the worst day inside and a few words from me can make it all go away. He says that his body may be in the worst place it's ever been in his life but that his heart and soul are in the best place they've ever been. How's that for loving your wife?

I will tell you this, that kind of love just doesn't come along every day but when it does, it's enough to soften the hardest heart and pull you up by your bootstraps so that you are ready to take on any and all comers. So, am I ready? You bet your ass!